Book-Birdy-Fb-Profile-ImageFor a slightly impatient reader and writer like me, this past week has been a bit of a challenge.

It was the week in which I had to slow down.

I like to see progress in quantifiable terms, whether it’s numbers of words written, or pages read.

But this last few days have been all about the one percent. Fixing words and sentences here and there in my short stories. Inching my way through books that require thought and concentration.

Here’s the run-down in more detail…

Short Reads

Because I was so engrossed in my long read (see below), I didn’t get a lot of time for faffing around on the internet.

However, I did read a ‘path to publication’ article that I think is worth sharing.

Normally, these are rags to (emotional) riches type stories. But this one, published in The Independent is different. Here, author Joanna Briscoe, writes eloquently on why publication does not equal salvation. It contains a brilliant quote from Jim Carrey which has stayed with me in a way that quotes from celebrities rarely do.

in the quietLong Reads

This was the week in which I started, and finished In the Quiet – a terrific debut novel from Australian writer Eliza Henry-Jones.

It certainly took me a little while to embrace ‘the quiet’ of this book. But once I did, I couldn’t let go. It’s a beguiling story of grief and ‘moving-on’, and it’s narrated entirely from the perspective of a dead mother of three.

Read my reflections here.

I’ve also started reading Kate Atkins’ work of historical fiction A God in Ruins. This book comes highly recommended from author, Natasha Lester, who has a brilliant blog about writing, publishing and reading.

Again, I have found it initially difficult to get into, but I’m finding that’s a common theme for me at the moment. Perhaps I need more time between reads, so as transition out of one voice and into another? Do you have that problem?


Like I said at the start of this post, the last week has been about polishing,

I received some tremendously useful feedback on one of my short stories which has helped enormously in the re-writing.

The critique picked up on what I think is probably a common mistake for many writers, and that is, that I provide too many emotional flags for the reader, which ‘rather than drawing the reader in, has the opposite effect of pushing the reader away.’

In what is a highly emotional story, I need to just tell the story, and not provide commentary on how the characters are feeling – even if these are some of the better (I think!) lines in the story.

So, back I go, to killing darlings..



  • Deborah
    Posted 02/08/2015 12:46 pm 0Likes

    I had one of those weeks this past week, which is why I’m only getting to reading blog posts now. I like the sound of In the Quiet but I’m worried I’d not appreciate it enough.

    Hope you didn’t kill all of your darlings! 😉


      Posted 05/08/2015 1:11 pm 0Likes

      Haha! Killing darlings is probably the thing I find hardest about writing. Also, I think decisions about what to ditch and what to keep also have to be made with the potential reader in mind. Sometimes, a short story for a literary mag requires a different approach than a short story for a comp. Cassie

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